Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Something Old, Something Older

When I first moved to Manhattan in August of 1997, I rented a studio apartment on the upper east side.  A studio apartment meaning basically one room.  The tiny kitchen and bathroom don't count towards rooms, trust me.  Prior to my renting it, the apartment was used as an office by an ethnic art dealer.  The wall to wall carpeting was dark green with faint tiny orange dots, the built-in cabinets and built-in open shelves were dark green and the walls were a red-orange color.  There was track lighting throughout, spot-lighting the walls in intervals.  And there were certain little walls that were completely mirrored.  It looked like a club when I first walked in.  I would have kept it as is because I was young and thought it was really cool, but my mother was with me and she insisted that at least the walls would be painted white before I moved in.  One day, I was at TJ Maxx and I found these African masks that were so cool.  I decided to get them and put them up on the walls so that the track lighting spots would highlight them. I should mention the horrible metal security gates that I had covering my windows, it made the place even darker than it already was. Please forgive the old picture quality, digital cameras were just born and megapixels were infants. 

Please also forgive the following pictures because the place was a mess, but its important to show you "the before" and these are all I have.

My bed is on the left where the kitty is and I had to have the long side against the wall which was very annoying. I really craved a real bed sticking out from a wall.  On the right was a huge L shaped desk with my computer and other stuff and as you can see the only windows I had in my apartment were all together and covered by the ugliest gates in the world.  It was like being in a prison after awhile.  Here are some pictures that show what the built-ins looked like.  The top built-ins, which flanked each side of the main room, I filled with empty wine bottles. Some of them, I saved from different parties/events and they had memories attached to them.  Others were from my neighbors.  I liked them.  Again, excuse the mess and the very large elliptical machine that took up way too much space.  Here you can see the wine bottles and below is my old TV which was on the same wall as the desk.  I wish I had better pictures.

As time went on, I was inspired by Middle Eastern and Indian influences.  In the next pic, the kitchen is on the left and the long hallway flanked by closets is on the right.  The bathroom and front door are down the hall too.  Notice that on the left side of the picture, the built-in cabinests are tall, making a long counter.  On the right, they were low so you could sit on them and in front I had an extra piece to put stuff on.

It became a hodge podge of cultural influences.

Alright, you get the picture of the "something older".  Obviously, it needed to be changed.  So, in 2005, I moved out of my apartment for a week while the management company removed the wall to wall carpeting and refinished the wooden floors underneath.  And they painted everything white.  I decided to get rid of a lot of the built-ins, but I kept 6 pieces to be reused.  Since everything was going to be fresh white, I decided upon a color theme.  I love red, as you know from my previous posts, so I wanted to incorporate that color into the design but I wanted to keep it light since the apartment was so dark before.  For the built-ins and cabinets and some of the trim, I picked Benjamin Moore Lady Finger paint.  Here are some pics of the new design. Night and Day.

I moved the bed to the other side and it is sticking out into the room off of the wall, yay!
On the left, I put a beautiful antique dresser desk that I bought off of ebay.  A new couch, covered with a stretch slipcover because of kitties, a new rug, a coffee table from my friend Dana and new other stuff which I will mention below.  I took the six pieces of cabinets that I kept and arranged them into a entertainment type center. I changed out the hinges for special ones so that some of the cabinet doors could open 180 degrees instead of just 90 degrees. 

The middle top cabinet contains my TV and the other cabinets are for storage.  Doesn't the color look so much better than that dark sherwood green?  Above you can see the open cabinets where the wine bottles used to be.  I used them as shadow boxes and put beautiful buddha statues in them.

I wanted to feel like the queen of my castle.  So here is my vanity desk with my jewelry boxes and my "mirror mirror on the wall" mirror. A Queen Anne chair, a pretty vanity mirrored tray, some peacock feathers I got from Bombay (I miss that store), two candle sconces I found at a flea market for $12.00 and finally, a red and gold damask curtain from TJ Maxx $7.00 that I hung with gold upholstery studs in a pleated fashion. 

You'll notice the leopard print comforter, Ralph Lauren, but I will talk about the bed in the next posting.  Remember the windows before with the horrible gates, the horrible vinyl blinds, etc.?  Well, I took off the gates, got white roller shades from Home Depot and installed them myself which was interesting due to the fact that the windows were very hard to measure and uneven.  So, I had to use little pieces of wood to make the brackets the right length across for the shades to fit. I reused the two side panel curtains, which were Ralph Lauren sheets that my mother turned into curtains for me (yes, that's where I get some of my craftiness from) and then I found the three triangular valances from Bed, Bath and Beyond, to top it off.  Very tailored looking.  I installed pull backs to get the gathering look.  I also, bought faux flowers from Pier 1 Imports to create a full bouquet.  Here are some close ups.

There is so much more to go into regarding the redesign of my old apartment.  That is what other posts are for. 

Thanks for stopping by and Stay tuned for more creativity!

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